BUILDING AN AMERICAN INSTITUTION

 

 

CINEMATHEQUE :

 

‘’Cinema’’-an abbreviated form of Cinematograph-is derived from the Greek, Kinema (motion) and Grafo (to write). Cinema means to write with motion.

 

‘’Theque’’ (tek)-a special place designed for a specific purpose, as in bibliotheque (library) or discotheque.

 

‘’Cinematheque’’- the name given to a place to show film.

 

THE MOVING PICTURE IS THE MOST POPULAR ART FORM

THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.

 

From earliest time, people have sought to leave a record of the world and their passage through it. Down through the centuries, forums, theatres, museums and libraries have been erected to embrace these expressions of human experience.

 

Today, the Moving Picture is the principal means by which most of these expressions are recorded. In its many permutations, from the kinetoscope to the laser disc, it has touched hearts and minds everywhere for more than a hundred years. Emerging from its origins as a carnival side show attraction, the Moving Picture quickly became ‘’the movies’’, the most popular art form the world has ever known, as well as a formidable economic force. Like nothing before, the Moving Picture has become the treasury of our present and our past and has even provided visionary glimpses into our future.

 

The American Cinematheque, as proposed and defined in these pages, is a film and video exhibition center dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms.

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE IS A UNIQUE FORUM

FOR THE WORLD FILM COMMUNITY

 

The importance of the Moving Picture has long been recognized by most industrialized nations. The Cinmathque Franaise in Paris and London’s British Film Institute – both established in the 1930’s – are leading examples of the dynamic institutions which have educated and entertained the public as well as inspired filmmakers and other artists. Moreover, ‘’cinematheques’’ have been serving audiences for several decades in Stockholm, Jerusalem, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Berlin, Rome and more than forty other cities around the world.

 

The establishment of the American Cinematheque as a prominent and accessible public facility reflects the stature of Hollywood as the world capital of film and video. The Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre will act as a magnet for interested viewers throughout the city as well as provide a forum for lively interaction between professionals and their audience.

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE IS DEDICATED EXCLUSIVELY TO PUBLIC FILM & VIDEO EXHIBITION

 

The American Cinematheque is dedicated exclusively to film and video exhibition for the public. To accomplish its objectives, the Cinematheque will have a permanent, state-of-the-art screening facility at the Egyptian Theatre. Only then will it be possible to: provide a forum for the general public to be able to view films or videos that would otherwise be unavailable for viewing; establish an ongoing dialogue between the filmmaker and the filmgoer; encourage and support new talent by showcasing their work; and provide a high-profile facility for the use of other independent film and video organizations.

 

The American Cinematheque is designed to stimulate and promote communication between individuals by encouraging an awareness of the rich cultural diversity that exists in the world.

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE IS A NON-PROFIT VIEWER SUPPORTED INSTITUTION IN ITS MOST NATURAL SETTING….HOLLYWOOD

 

The idea for an American Cinematheque began with the organizers of the enormously successful Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex) in the early 70’s and finally sprang to life in 1984. Subsequently, other civic minded people joined them and a structure for a non-profit community-supported corporation was established. During the ensuing years, many locations and potential partnerships were explored resulting in the creation of an institution in its most natural setting – Hollywood.

 

Since the organization's inception, the Cinematheque governing bodies have been compromised of prominent people in the world film industry, distinguished historians, professionals, academicians and business and civic leaders. Three major groups are responsible for the Cinematheque’s establishment and operation: the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and International Council.

 

The Board of Directors establishes policy and is responsible for fundraising and fiscal management. The Board of Trustees acts in an advisory capacity and assists with specific projects, fundraising and long range planning. Members of the International Council advise on programming and also provide liaison to more than 40 film and video producing nations around the world.

 

Daily operations are managed by a full-time professional staff under the leadership of a director.

 

CINEMATHEQUE PROGRAMMING ENCOMPASSES ALL CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY FILM & VIDEO

 

The American Cinematheque programs are designed for the general public. Work by emerging artists is presented together with acknowledged classics, enabling viewers to judge the new within a broad historical context of what came before. American films share equal screen time with international efforts and cinematic presentations are balanced by programs of classic television and video art.

 

In addition, public programs at the Cinematheque reflect what is exhibited at other prominent institutions through collaborative program sharing ventures with more than 90 arts organizations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science, the Museum of Modern Art (NY), The Japan Foundation, Spanish Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers, Out on the Screen and UFVA.

 

The programming repertoire includes retrospective tributes to legendary artists (producers, directors, writers, actors, and other craftsmen), previews of new films by studio-affiliated and independent producers, documentaries, mixed-media, animation, surveys of new and vintage work from around the world, classic television, silent cinema and experimental efforts.

 

As an institution with a substantial commitment, the Cinematheque offers lectures, seminars and public discussions as a vital program component. Artists from major motion picture studios as well as the independent sector have an opportunity to discuss their work with the audience. Their appearances are recorded and the tapes are made available for scholarly use.

 

THE CURRENT PROGRAMMING AT RALEIGH STUDIOS PROVIDES A PREVIEW OF PROGRAMS TO COME AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATRE

 

Since 1985, the Cinematheque has successfully presented film and video events at venues throughout Los Angeles. Some of these events have included, ‘’A Tribute to the Museum of Modern Art Film Department’’, presented in association with both the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at the Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood ; ‘’Rock on Film’’, a comprehensive survey of classic rock-music features was presented at the Wiltern Theatre ; ‘’Singin’in the Rain’’ and ‘’The King and I’’, with vaudevillian prologues, were presented in 1990 and 1991 at the Hollywood Bowl. In 1995, Carl Th.Dreyer’s ‘’La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc’’, was presented at the John Anson Ford Theatre with the Los Angeles premiere of the accompanying opera ‘’Voices of Light’’.

 

Inaugurated in June of 1989, popular monthly mini-festivals were presented at the Directors Guild of America Theater complex. This interim program, known as the Temporary Cinematheque, was an important audience-development activity culminating in the establishment, in 1995, of regular weekly programming at Raleigh Studios during development and construction at the Egyptian Theatre.

 

Programs in the past year have included new films from Spain, England, Japan and Germany, along with tributes to filmmakers including Agnes Varda, Peter Greenway, Rosa von Praunheim, Chris Marker and Lina Wertmuller. New American independent films are presented in the ‘’Alternative Screen’’ series, balanced by tributes to classic American filmmakers life Sam Fuller and Andre de Toth.

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE IS DESIGNED TO SERVE ALL WHO LIVE IN OR VISIT LOS ANGELES

 

As a national and international arts center, the American Cinematheque is designed to serve people of all races, nationalities, cultures, ages and interests who live in and visit Los Angeles.

The daily program schedule is specifically designed to accommodate :

 

THE GENERAL PUBLIC: The daily program schedule is designed to attract the widest possible audiences.

 

CHILDREN: School children will be transported to the Cinematheque to experience events which augment their education.

 

SENIOR CITIZENS: The needs of the elderly will be addressed through low admission prices and the availability of convenient public transportation.

 

MULTI-CULTURAL: Programming is designed for ethnic and other specialized audiences, providing a forum for communication and a showcase for minority filmmakers and independent video artists.

 

TOURISTS: As a major tourist center, Hollywood attracts more than 9 million visitors yearly. The Cinematheque will provide a destination attraction celebrating Hollywood’s magical history in a special daily film presentation.

 

FILM AND VIDEO ARTISTS: The Cinematheque provides a rare opportunity for lively interaction between the filmmaker and his/ her audience.

 

SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS: Students and academicians have access to Cinematheque film and video resources for specific research projects.

 

Admission prices for Cinematheque programs are below commercial movie theatres. In addition, members receive substantial discounts and free programs will be presented regularly for seniors, children and other special groups.

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE IS A NON-PROFIT, VIEWER SUPPORTED INSTITUTION IN ITS MOST NATURAL SETTING….HOLLYWOOD

 

In the mid-90’s the most natural setting for the American Cinematheque became available. The Egyptian Theatre, built by the legendary Sid Grauman, opened in 1922 at the first major movie theatre in Hollywood. Renovated in the late 50’s, the theatre continued as a first run venue into the 90’s. What better place to house a permanent public exhibition center to honor film and video than Hollywood’s first movie theatre?

 

While respecting the historic fabric of this renowed national landmark, the design concept of the cinematheque renovation of the Egyptian complex provides an atmosphere conducive to interaction with other audience members as well as filmmakers.

 

A caf, bookstore and patio will define the entrance courtyard off Hollywood Boulevard welcoming pedestrians and encouraging audiences to mingle and talk. The original entrance portico will be restored with the ticket booths and four massive columns.

 

The design for the main 650-seats theatre encompasses a modern state-of-the-art theatre within the historic shell. Retractable acoustic panels will slide into place at the beginning of presentations to enclose the new theatre, and retract to the front of the theatre at the conclusion of presentations as the theatre lights go up. The original ornate sunburst-ceiling pattern will be restored, and a 1922 Wurlitzer theatre organ will be installed for silent film presentations. The project also includes a 75-seat theatre, expanded lobby and Board Room.

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE- RESTORING AN HISTORIC STRUCTURE

 

A balance of restoration effort has been established between the outdoor public areas of the Egyptian Theatre, (recreating the missing colonnade and portico) and an interior restoration intended to stop the decay of the existing original ceiling and wall areas.

 

The missing areas have been patched like an antique fresco, thus preserving and separating the ‘’authentic’’ from the ‘’replica’’. Architectural interventions will either avoid contact with these surfaces altogether, or depend upon carefully placed elements which articulate the time and cultural emphasis of each system.

 

The original Egyptian auditorium was designed to magnify the sound of the organ, which accompanied silent films. With the invention of talkies, an absorbent material was applied to the original shell, which suited the sound systems of the forties and fifties. However, contemporary surround sound requires vastly different acoustics which cannot be achieved within a preservationist context.

 

A desire to limit the impact of the renovation on the remaining historical fabric led to the creation of a structural armature for the old theatre. This armature will be the sole support for the components necessary to upgrade the fire protection, mechanical, sound and theatre lighting systems, as well as the trackways required for acoustic panels.

 

The acoustic panels will remain in an open position during the pre-show interlude to encourage appreciation of the original features of the auditorium, and will then travel forward to enclose the audience with the dimming of the lights and the beginning of the presentation.

 

DEDICATED PEOPLE HAVE DONATED THEIR TIME, ENERGY & RESOURCES TO SUPPORT EVERY LEVEL OF THE ORGANIZATION

 

There has been immediate and enthusiastic support for the Cinematheque since its inception. Endorsements have been received from elected officials, as well as entertainment industry and cultural leaders.

 

As might be expected, the core of community support emanates from Los Angeles. Dedicated individuals donate their time, energy and resources to provide essential services at every level of the organization.

 

The Moving Picture Ball is the most visible of the Cinematheque’s community supported fundraising activities and is considered to be one of Hollywood’s most anticipated events.

 

The American Cinematheque Award is presented at the Ball to an artist who is currently making a signifiant contribution to the art of the moving picture. Honorees have included Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Rob Reiner, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, Bette Midler and Eddie Murphy. The ball is attended by many of the most creative and influential people in the film and television industries as well as the community at large. Their contributions have provided essential funding for Cinematheque programs and operations throughout the years.

 

A public membership program attracts people from diverse segments of greater Los Angeles. This membership encourages direct participation in the Cinematheque and its programs.

 

The Cinematheque’s leadership will strive to maximize this community support in order to complete the fundraising campaign for construction and future endowment of the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre.

 

AMERICA’S GIFT TO THE WORLD IS APPROPRIATELY

HONORED IN ITS OWN HOMETOWN

 

The Moving Picture is more closely identified with Hollywood than any other place in the world, yet no major independent film and video exhibition center presently exists there. London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Jerusalem, Moscow, Tokyo and more than 40 other major cities around the world have such institutions. With the establishment of the American Cinematheque, Hollywood will assume its rightful place among these pre-eminent world cultural centers.

 

The American Cinematheque will also improve the quality of life in the city by providing an exciting, easily accessible international forum for cultural interaction with talented film and video artists.

 

The American Cinematheque will act as a catalyst for community revitalization, helping bring stability to Hollywood, recreating a sense of neighborhood identity.

 

The American Cinematheque will encourage artistic development in the entertainment industry by providing a platform for the finest film and video achievements, a showcase for young artists and a ‘’public laboratory’’ to test new ideas.

 

The American Cinematheque will contribute to the increasing public perception of Los Angeles as an important cultural center.

 

The American Cinematheque will serve as a stimulus for business in the area by developing jobs and new business opportunities.

 

American Cinematheque inter-cultural programming will serve as a bridge between diverse ethnic groups and help to familiarize citizens with California’s multi-cultural heritage.

 

As an international arts center and an important Los Angeles tourist attraction, the Cinematheque will draw people from around the world. Studies by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce indicate that every dollar for the local economy.

 

 

THE WORLD HAS BECOME A GLOBAL VILLAGE, AND THE MOVING PICTURE IS THE PUBLIC ART FORM OF THIS VILLAGE

 

 

The partnership of the public and private sectors, which will enable the Cinematheque to be built, will benefit all who participate. The Cinematheque is eager to create alliances with individuals, corporations and organizations that are seeking opportunities to support the development of the arts and further the economic growth of the city.

 

In many ways, the world has become a ‘’global village’’ and the Moving Picture is the public art form has defined, interpreted and influenced the scope of human experience throughout the 20th Century.

 

And now, with the centennial of the birth of cinema, the American Cinematheque will rise in Los Angeles. The Moving Picture will be properly recognized and the gift that America has given to the world will be appropriately honored in its own hometown.

 

THE CAPITAL CAMPAIGN TO BUILD THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE WILL RAISE $ 14.2 MILLION

 

The capital campaign to build the American Cinematheque is a carefully crafted $21 million fundraising effort to construct and equip the building, and includes the establishment of an endowment reserve for ongoing programming.

 

The campaign was launched in the winter of 1997 with:

 

A $3 MILLION GRANT from the Community Redevelopment Agency to begin renovation and construction;

 

A $2 MILLION HUD INTEREST-FREE CONSTRUCTION LOAN;

 

A MAJOR GIFT FROM TIME-WARNER to name the ‘’Steven Spielberg Theatre;"

 

A GIFT FROM THE MCA FOUNDATION;

 

A CHALLENGE GRANT from the National Endowment for the Arts;

 

A CLASSIC WURLITZER THEATRE PIPE ORGAN donated by Lloyd Properties, to be used for the proper presentation of rare ‘’silent’’ films.

 

Additional contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations have reduced the current goal of the campaign to $ 12.9 million.

 

GIFT OPPORTUNITIES

 

In growing numbers, individual contributors, foundations and corporations are supporting the campaign to build the American Cinematheque with cash contributions and pledges.

 

Many opportunities are available to commemorate a benefactor’s generosity.